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Shark Club files for bankruptcy
Shark Club files for bankruptcy; Silver Cos. looks elsewhere to fill vacancy at Uptown Central Park.

 Jason Valentine (left) and George Hawk, both of Hawk Awning Co., install an awning over the entrance.
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Date published: 4/6/2002

The Shark Club won't be resurfacing at Uptown Central Park.

The restaurant/dance club has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy since it closed its Fredericksburg location in February. It claims to owe dozens of creditors more than $1 million and has assets worth less than $500,000, according to papers filed in bankruptcy court in Alexandria.

Under Chapter 11, a filer is shielded from creditors while working to pay down debts under court supervision.

Shark Club's other locations in Centreville, Merrifield and Alexandria remain open.

John Tsiaoushis, Shark Club president and co-owner, said the filing has nothing to do with its other locations, and they will remain open. He also said his company is looking to bring a different venue to Fredericksburg.

"We're still trying to work out a concept as a brewery that will work there," he said this week. Tsiaoushis said he's meeting with the Silver Cos., the Central Park developers, next week.

The Silver Cos. banned Shark Club operators from the Uptown site last February after the company fell behind in lease payments, said Judson Honaker, Silver Cos. vice president. The company propped a concrete barrier in front of the restaurant's doors to keep them out.

The Silver Cos. is talking with a different company about filling the space, Honaker said.

"It's not the Shark Club group," he said. "The new tenant will focus more on food than the Shark Club."

He did not name the new tenant or say when a new business would open.

The Central Park establishment was known for its variety of dining and entertainment offerings, including a sports bar, live music and "Hot Body Bikini Contests." Safari Steakhouse, an upscale restaurant serving mammoth-size slabs of beef and seafood as part of the Shark Club property, also closed.

Tsiaoushis said two years ago that he expected the $4 million club to generate "at least" $5 million in its first year.

But last spring he wound up in court for not paying the city more than $17,000 in meals and admissions taxes. The taxes were eventually paid.

Last summer, employees complained of not being paid. The Silver Cos. distributed $4,000 to 33 former employees who lost their jobs in February when the club closed. Silver was not obligated to pay the workers.

Tsiaoushis and his brother-in-law, Tom Varlas, also owned the Central Park Diner, which closed last fall. The Silver Cos. is talking with two diner owners to take over that space, Honaker said recently.